The Ethiopian government has inaugurated a national plan to end child marriage and Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) within the coming five years period.
Ethiopian Minister of Women, Children and Youth, Yalem Tsegaye, said this on Wednesday at the inauguration of the national roadmap aimed at ending child marriage and FGM practices across communities in the country.
The minister said that the newly launched roadmap would help towards ending the two malpractices by the year 2025.
According to him, the new national roadmap, which is expected to be implemented within the next 5 years, will require in excess of 2.7 billion Ethiopian birr (about 93 million dollars).
The new initiative is, among other things, expected to create national public awareness, improve policy platforms, and efficient service provision at all concerned levels as well as enhance data provision schemes.
The new national roadmap is also expected to inject the much-needed imputes to Ethiopia’s aspiration to achieve global and continental commitments on countering the health and socioeconomic impacts of child marriage and female genital mutilation, which are often seen as traditional and cultural practices among Ethiopian communities.
The roadmap will be implemented by a consortium of national actors, such as the Ethiopian ministry of women, Children and Youth, ministries of health, education, finance, labour, and social affairs as well as stakeholders from a variety of sectors.
According to figures from the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, in Ethiopia one in every five girls below the age of 18 years old is married.
Across Africa, the percentage of young women, who were married as children has dropped from 44 per cent in 1990 to 34 per cent by 2015.
UNICEF, which recently commended the Ethiopian government’s efforts to end child marriage in particular, also stressed that Ethiopia’s commitment to end child marriage by 2025 through enhanced coordination, budget allocation, accountability mechanism and availability of data.
“The establishment of a National Alliance to End Child Marriage and female genital mutilation is another significant stride in the effort to end child marriage as it has been key in coordinating interventions,” UNICEF said.
According to the UN, if current trends are allowed to persist in Africa, the total number of child brides in the continent will rise from 125 million to 310 million by 2050.